SaaS replacing IT with a utility model

cloud computingAs more and more businesses take a hard look at SaaS and cloud computing in general, they are moving more and more functions outside of  their datacenters.  Recently Toyota Australia said it is moving its IT infrastructure to the cloud over the next 5 years.  Like many other organizations, Toyota is not in the business of IT or delivering applications.  They are in the business of building cars and trucks.  They want to purchase business applications the same way they purchase electricity and phone service.  They want it metered and priced based on their utilization.
I think SaaS and cloud computing are forcing organizations to look at the value of hardware and software differently.  Today most IT groups develop laptop, desktop and server standards based on planned usage of on-premise applications, for the most part.  They do the same with desktop and server software builds.  These include applications, utilities, security software, operating system settings, and so forth.  IT groups spend a lot of time worrying about and fixing all these things.
But what is the value of all of this?  The purpose of these systems is to provide some business utility so that someone can communicate, collaborate, sell or service goods and services.  And you can get many of these things through SaaS or cloud computing.  It’s not all there yet and we all still use many on-premise applications, but things are moving very rapidly.  
If I was a CIO contemplating a new server buy, I would ask if I really need this.  Should I move the business utility to the cloud?  Or is there an existing SaaS application that meets my needs?  All valid questions.  Toyota has answered that question with a YES.
How about you?
Photo credit Bruce Clay, Inc

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